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Here’s one way to talk about a fictional character:

When I was a kid, I knew two different Santa Clauses. The first had a fat belly, rosy cheeks, a long white beard, and skin as pink as bubble gum …

Then there was the Santa in my family‚Äôs household … A near-carbon copy of the first one — big belly, rosy cheeks, long white beard: check, check, check. But his skin was as dark as mine.

That would be Aisha Harris in Slate, suggesting that maybe it might be nice, if Santa’s truly a universal figure for the kids, to maybe move away from being a fat old white man. She suggests maybe a penguin, which would require some polar relocation (but hey, when the North Pole is open water in 25 years, a South-Pole-based Santa would have an advantage).

And then there’s Megyn Kelly on Fox, reassuring all the “kids watching at home” that Santa is very definitely a white guy. As is Jesus. We’re not sure what’s more disconcerting — Kelly’s certainty about the race of a fictional character, or her certainty that kids in the Santa-believing age range are watching Fox News.

Kelly does actually manage a brief moment of empathy for Harris’s story, before handwaving her into irrelevance, acknowledging that, yes, a white Santa as the default figure could maybe be confusing…but naah, “Just because it makes you feel uncomfortable doesn’t mean it has to change. You know, Jesus was a white man, too!” And then, too, there’s no way a fat white man could ever be alienating to anyone, because he’s Santa. We’re guessing that Megyn Kelly has never seen tiny children of all races screaming in terror at the prospect of having to sit on a mall Santa’s lap.

An idiot panelist jumps in to add that St. Nicholas was a real Greek bishop, and definitely white, and “you can’t take facts and then try to change them to fit a political agenda or a sensitivity agenda.” Yes, she said that, right on Fox News.

Frankly, we’ll always be in David Sedaris’s corner when it comes to Santa:

Tonight, I saw a woman slap and shake her crying child. She yelled: “Rachel, get on that man’s lap and smile or I’ll give you something to cry about.” Then she sat Rachel on Santa’s lap and I took the picture, which supposedly means on paper, that everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be – that everything is snowy and wonderful.

It’s not about the child or Santa or Christmas or anything, but the parents’ idea of a world they cannot make work for them.

Please, Aisha Harris — why do you have to insist on being a black lady who makes Megyn Kelly think about children who don’t identify with the Santa Claus she loves so much? Why do you have to keep being so difficult, all of you people? Isn’t Christmas about coming together and celebrating the things which we all share, as defined by a white lady on Fox News?

[Slate / MediaMatters / This American Life]

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  • BoatOfVelociraptors

    Shhh!

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